There are a number of different actions that you can take, which can save you quite a lot of money this Summer. Taken alone, each action will save just a few dollars here and there, but taken together, they all add up. The kicker is that every single one of these actions are about living more consciously too. Although a couple of the actions, like creating a drought-tolerant yard or buying ceiling fans will require a little upfront money, you’ll save oodles of cash in the long run.
1. Air Dry Laundry: You don’t need a massive yard to air dry your laundry in the Summer. Even if you live in an apartment, you can find a drying rack and rig it up close to an open window where the warm breeze will help dry your clothes. I have a retractable line in my yard, which I dry sheets, towels, and heavier items on. When no one’s around I dry smaller items over chairs, bushes and hedges on my patio. If you don’t love crispy jeans or towels (my husband hates them,) bring in the laundry when it’s still a little damp and finish it off in the dryer at night.
2. Fridge/Freezer Smart: Standing with the fridge or freezer door open for more than 20 seconds will make this energy-guzzler of an appliance have to work much harder to re-cool itself. Given the fact that it uses the most energy of any other home appliance, make sure you stick a Post-it note (Post-it Greener notes,) on the fridge reminding little people to pick their ice cream QUICKLY! It also doesn’t hurt to explain why.
4. Go late To Farmer’s Market: If you go to your farmer’s market towards the end of the market, just before they’re about to pack up, you might find some serious bargains. Farmers don’t want to have to haul all their produce back to the farm, so they may strike a great deal with you.
An extra tip on the farmer’s market topic is to buy loads of organic berries while they are in season and freeze them. I always keep frozen berries for smoothies and desserts, but organic frozen berries are expensive at the market.
5. Eat less Meat: I cannot stress the importance of this one enough if you want to save on your grocery bills. In the Summer, beautiful seasonal veggies are so readily available that you can experiment with grilling them in all kinds of different ways. Also try out some veggie burger recipes and if you have a good one – post it to my FB page, and you might win the Cuisinart Grill.
6. Drape It: When you leave the house in the morning, make sure that all of your drapes and shutters are drawn and closed. Even if your home isn’t South facing, you want to try to keep the interior dark and cool. I do this every morning, as it gets super hot here in the day, and I try not to use my A/C unless it becomes totally unbearable. I highly recommend installing ceiling fans in every room if you don’t already have them, as they are way less expensive than running your A/C.
7. Slow Down: Most vehicles get the most amount of fuel efficiency when driving between 45 and 55 miles per hour. The Department of Energy (DOE) figures that for every five miles you drive going in excess of 60 mph, you could lose somewhere between seven to 23 percent of fuel efficiency. According to AAA, if your average commute includes 20 miles of highway time and you drive at 60 mph instead of 70 mph, you’ll save approximately 1.3 gallons of gas in a five-day work week.
8. Water-wise: Water, or lack of, is the next biggest issue that we’ll face globally. Have you noticed how your water bills have gone up recently. Here in So Cal, I almost passed out when I saw our bill for June. Make sure that your sprinklers are on timers that only go on during the night. If you water your yard in the sunlight, twice as much water will be used up. It’s also better to irrigate your yard every other day for longer, rather than a short time everyday – the longer irrigation time will draw the water down into the roots, where the heat can’t evaporate it so easily.
If you have a pool, make sure that you have a cover to prevent evaporation. Limit the family to 3 minute showers. There is never a better time to try to Xeriscape your backyard.
Read these excellent tips by guest-blogger Jacob, about how you can create a drought-tolerant yard.
That’s why if you’re a frugal minded landscaper, gardener, or average green thumb and low water usage is something you hold close to your heart then its time to get familiar with the concepts that make up xeriscaping.
Aimed at reducing irrigation needs, xeriscaping is a model for improving the overall efficiency of a landscape transforming it into a cost effective ecosystem.
And while a true xeriscape may require overhauling an entire yard for it to work optimally, anyone can reap the benefits by applying even one of the individual points of the xeriscape system, some of which include the following:
Yard evaluation: The point of assessing the yard is questioning its design and if it’s working efficiently. For example, we all know some plants need more sun than shade or visa versa but how does wind factor or drainage affect growing patterns? Furthermore, vegetation that needs more water like the garden should be at lower elevations so water flows towards it instead of away from it. Also, plants should be grouped by need including those which like sun, those that prefer shade, or by their water usage. That way they can be cared for better and fed more evenly.
The soil: Plants need a lot more than just water to grow. Good drainage and water retention and sufficient levels of nutrients are important. Extra nutrients can be attained through composting or using natural fertilizers like seaweed that you don’t have to buy in stores. The more nutrients your soil has the more good garden insects like worms will take up residence in your yard working the soil and making your plants healthier and happier.
Mulching: Many people think mulching is just for good looks and keeping the weeds down but in reality it slows erosion and retains moisture, which translates into less water usage. Homemade mulch can be made from grass clippings, fallen leaves or branches, or other discarded shrubbery.
Plants: Plants native to a particular region are ideal because they are immune to local diseases and need less care. However, in cooler climates some drought resistant species from other locations can withstand harsh winters and will flourish during warmer months. In many cases herbs like lavender and rosemary fall into this category since they require very little water. Additionally, bring the lawn into the mix when determining which plants would be appropriate for your zone, as it may be worthwhile to replace the current type of grass with one that needs far less care and feeding.
Water use: Ideally plants should be watered in the evening or at night when moisture will evaporate less quickly. Also, water should be delivered directly to roots. This means using drip irrigation, localized sprinkler systems, or other more crude but effective delivery systems such as those made from plastic bottles.
Maintenance: When all is said and done xeriscaping doesn’t need as much attention as regular landscaping but as stated still requires basic chores like weeding and fertilizing. However, of all the tasks monitoring water distribution is probably the most intricate since if too much water is being used or it isn’t going to where it’s supposed to the xeriscape is no different from any other landscaping venture.
Jakob Barry writes for Hometalk.com, a growing community of homeowners and contractors sharing and monitoring home improvement projects together. He covers various home improvement topics including <a href= http://www.hometalk.com/feeds?type=tabs&category=496#type=tabs&category=496 <http://www.hometalk.com/feeds?type=tabs&category%5b%5d=496#type=tabs&category=496> > Green living</a> and <a href= http://www.landscapingnetworx.com/lawn-services/ > lawn ca